The UK’s Growing Side Gig Economy

REPORT
REPORT

Mapping the changing shape of the UK professional, we at freebets.ltd.uk have conducted in-depth research into the employment, freelance and investment landscape, seeing exactly how and why Brits are making money on the side.

Having a second income stream or “side gig” has become the norm in the UK, with the traditional 9-5 worker seeming like a thing of the past.

Mapping the changing shape of the UK professional, we at freebets.ltd.uk have conducted in-depth research into the employment, freelance and investment landscape, seeing exactly how and why Brits are making money on the side.

Core Findings:

  • 45% of UK workers between the ages of 16-40 have a side gig of some form.
  • The most common avenues for extra income are property, trading, influencing and creative freelancing.
  • The Covid19 pandemic and the cost of living crisis have been driving forces for Brits seeking extra income.
  • The majority of people with a side gig are saving for a particular purpose like a home, car or holiday.
  • Side gigs are worth £346 billion to the UK economy.
  • Generating a "passive" income is the objective for 23% of Brits.

The Pandemic

58% of Brits with a second income began moonlighting during the pandemic
58% of Brits with a second income began moonlighting during the pandemic

58% of Brits with a second income began moonlighting during the pandemic

While the UK's gig economy grew long before the Covid19 pandemic hit, lockdown saw a spike in the number of Brits taking on extra work and generating an additional income stream. This was both due to the uncertainty of the jobs market and people having more time to think about and pursue their real passions and ambitions in life. According to research, 58 per cent of the people moonlighting in the UK began doing so after March 2020, around the time the pandemic hit.

The Cost of Living Crisis

The cost of living crisis has seen millions of people struggle financially, leading many to look at earning extra cash in addition to what they get bring home from their day job. When the cost of living started to creep up, around 10 million workers considered taking on another job if costs continued to rise. What's more, 28% of full-time workers now work beyond the recommended maximum of 48 hours a week due to the rising cost of food, fuel and utility bills.

Men earn around £1,500 a month more than women from their side hustle.

Tax Implications of Side Gigs

Men earn around £1,500 a month more than women from their side hustle.
Men earn around £1,500 a month more than women from their side hustle.

Side hustles are worth a staggering £346 billion to the UK economy. However, there are grey areas. It is said that 5.7 million of us aren't declaring our side hustle income, which results in an estimated £23.5 billion made off the books every year.

The average income from a side hustle for men is £4,571. In contrast, women earn approximately £1,500 less, taking home an extra income of £3,091 from their side hustle. Men are also more likely to have an unreported side gig, with 19% not reporting their second income compared to 8.3% for women.

Prominent Industries for Side Gigs

While extra income can come from all sorts of avenues, there are a few prominent industries Brits turn to when looking to generate an extra income stream.

Property

Although the UK property market is in a time of flux, property investment remains one of the biggest sources of passive income for Brits. From 2020 to 2021, 2.74 million unincorporated landlords declared income from renting out property. As well as traditional property rentals and HMOs, many Brits are eyeing up the Airbnb and holiday rental market.

According to research, 9% per cent of adults in the United Kingdom are considering purchasing a vacation rental property within the next five years. In addition, mortgage options for borrowers interested in vacation rentals have increased by 72% since September 2021 to meet rising investment demand.

Where property investors are looking for holiday lets...
Where property investors are looking for holiday lets...

Affiliate Marketing and Influencing

Around 16% of all online orders are influenced by affiliate marketing. Due to their marketing power, affiliates and influencers can make significant sums from promoting brands via their social channels. In return, an influencer will receive a commission on sales, signups or clicks.

Tanya Burr, Victoria Magrath, Sophie Hinchliffe, Joe Sugg, KSI, Alfie Deyes and Tom Cassell are some of the biggest and most successful names in influencer marketing. However, you do not have to have millions of followers to be a UK influencer. In fact, Neil Patel, a well-known digital marketing expert, claims that an influencer can make money as an influencer with as few as one thousand followers, provided there is engagement.

No matter where they fall on the audience scale, influencers have numerous online revenue-generating options available to them today. While social media celebrities earn billions from their accounts alone, non-celebrity influencers can (and do) earn millions with the right strategy.

How Much Are Influencers Paid?

How much are influencers paid?
How much are influencers paid?

Who are the Highest Paid UK Influencers?

Highest paid influencers
Highest paid influencers

Betting, Crypto & Trading

The community of Brits betting and trading is forever on the up. While many see such activities as recreational forms of entertainment, for many, it is a way to make money on the side of their "normal" job.

Trading cryptocurrencies

Over 3.3 million people in the UK currently own cryptocurrency - that's 5% of the population. Close to one-fifth (19%) of people claim to have bought cryptocurrency because they see it as an easy way to make money on the side.

Online betting

50% of British men bet on sport
50% of British men bet on sport

Almost half (50%) of UK men engage in sports betting, compared to 23% of women. In recent years fantasy sports betting has increased in popularity amongst men (4%) compared to less than 1% of women.

The UK is also witnessing a growing number of people identifying as "Professional Gamblers". While gambling should always be viewed as a form of entertainment, there is a huge proportion of bettors using their sports knowledge to make an additional income.

Around 3% of bettors bet with the purpose of earning a living. Those that make the leap and take their gambling ability to generate their main income generally have a bankroll of £150,000.

Some of the most noteworthy professional British gamblers in history include names such as Tony Bloom, Harry Findlay, Patrick Veitch, Terry Ramsden and Joseph Jagger.

OnlyFans

47% of OnlyFans creators in the UK have another job
47% of OnlyFans creators in the UK have another job

Adult entertainment is one of the world's oldest industries and has been known for its lucrative nature since the beginning of time. However, with the introduction of social technology, adult content is now easier to create, distribute and earn money from. The launch of OnlyFans, an internet content subscription service, marked a defining moment for the pornography industry. While hosting a variety of content, the platform has become synonymous with pornographic content since its launch in 2016.

The website serves as a marketplace for adult performers, who upload their own content and retain 80% of the revenue. The remaining 20% is kept by OnlyFans to cover operating expenses.

Due to the fact that OnlyFans has over 188 million users, there is an active audience of people seeking explicit content and are willing to pay for it. Brits have seen this as a great opportunity to make some extra money, creating OnlyFans accounts to sell their content and up their income.

It is estimated that almost half (47%) of OnlyFans creators have another job at an office or another physical location.

eCommerce

With the high street falling further into decline, the e-commerce industry is booming. While the changing shape of retail is sad for many, the ability to sell pretty much anything online has given Brits an avenue to enhance their income, whether it be selling homemade clothes, candles - literally anything!

Plus, creating e-commerce websites has never been so easy, with user-friendly website builders such as Wix and WebFlow allowing even the most tech-illiterate to create an e-commerce website and sell items with ease. Sellers can also take advantage of the marketing power of portals such as Amazon and Etsy when looking to sell online.

The UK is currently the 4th largest market for e-commerce activity. By 2027, it is anticipated that revenue will exhibit a compound annual growth rate (CAGR 2023-2027) of 8.4%, resulting in a market volume of £186 billion.

Freelancing

1 in 5 people freelance on the side
1 in 5 people freelance on the side

It is estimated that 1 in 5 Brits freelance. Currently, there are over 2 million Freelancers in the United Kingdom. For many, this is a secondary job function. 33% of Freelancers plan on continuing to freelance on the side of their job rather than taking their side gig venture full-time.

Freelancers contribute approximately £125 billion to our economy, making them extremely valuable members of the British workforce.

The biggest driving forces behind freelancing are saving for a deposit for a house, car or holiday. The most common freelance jobs include writing, translation, digital marketing, design, programming and social media management.